Leigh Dotey is one of 43 fine woodworkers who are showcased in the exhibition Making a Seat at the Table: Women Transform Woodworking. We conducted a brief interview via email to find out more about their work.
Why is this exhibition important to you?
Having the opportunity to show work at The Center for Art in Wood is an honour and being selected to participate in a show that highlights women who work with wood is genuinely amazing. The art world, craft world and design world are all male-dominated and when this can be challenged or critiqued that feels important to me. Shows like Making a Seat at the Table, which is not only about women but has a fairly racially diverse group of artists allows for other female-identifying and gender non-conforming and POC folx to feel like they matter and their work matters.
What advice would you give your younger self about getting into woodworking?
Reject the concept of mastery, it is heavily laden with old fashioned patriarchal ideas. Don’t be afraid to experiment and push boundaries in terms of materials and ideas even if the effort doesn’t result in a clearly defined outcome. I started to have a lot more fun once I realized that what I thought were failures were in fact gifts and a valuable part of my practice.
Which piece in the exhibition stood out the most to you?
I have never in my life been able to pick a favourite anything, added to that there are a number of my mentors in the show so I can’t really pick just one! I think what stood out to me was the variety of approaches to making and the complex interpretations of form. I also want to mention the incredible attendance at the opening reception. Being in a room with so many talented women working with a material and set of concerns close to my heart was magical and that felt really important to me as someone who is an emerging designer and maker.